It’s New Year’s Eve and the blessings to our family have surpassed our hopes. We magnify Him for the opportunities and challenges, for Ezra and the joy he brought to this year from start to finish. We praise him for our children and for the doors he has opened for them to do His will. We are thankful for our parents who are still living and enjoying a measure of health (and, of course, for the continuing influence of my mother, who waits in glory). Especially, as this year closes, we are grateful for our new daughter-in-law, Rebekah. She is the answer to many prayers and we will forever be thankful for Heaven’s response to those fervent daily prayers.
In this, the dawn of 2016, I’ve been thinking a lot about those who are younger parents trying to raise children for heaven in the present American culture. I know many of them who are doing a better job than I could ever do. But still, the mentality of the day is to ‘live and let live,” to deny the existence of truth and to, thus, affirm all beliefs and lifestyles. It has a strong undercurrent of seeking human approval and material success. So, it takes a lot of parental stamina to keep battling the devil as he tries to normalize behaviors that have, throughout our nation’s history, been considered shameful and diabolical. We try to battle on while insuring that our families are seeking first His kingdom.
Here are five important lessons for the hearts of children in 2016. I threw in a few examples from scripture in case you’re making a template for Family Bible time this year. Of course, there are many more examples in each case.
- We will NOT always be like everyone else, but we will always be kind to everyone else (Joseph’s treatment of his brothers in the last chapters of Genesis, Israel clamored for a king in the early chapters of I Samuel, The one grateful leper in Luke 17).
- We will love our country, but we will keep in mind that it is not this country that will abide forever (Paul turned to the Gentiles in Acts 13, Jeremiah—the weeping prophet, Hebrews 11 and the “better country”).
- We will keep in mind that the most important things are not things at all (Esau’s bowl of stew in Genesis 25, Achan at Ai in Joshua 7, The rich fool in Luke 12).
- We will put the Kingdom of God first in every decision this year (The Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5,6,7, Hebrews 10:25, 26, Stephen in Acts 6).
- We will take every opportunity to tell people about Jesus (Peter and John in Acts 3-5, Paul’s sufferings for the gospel in II Corinthians 11, Paul and Caesar’s house in Phil. 4:22).
The transference of faith from generation to generation is not accidental. In a year that promises to be hostile against Christianity and a time that is certainly an era of “taking offense” (everybody is offended by everything and political correctness has thwarted rationality), it will take diligence to put conviction in our kids. I’m praying today for Christian moms and their New Year’s resolutions!